Tarragon Chicken Salad

Tarragon chicken salad with dried cranberries, celery, mayonnaise, and tarragon. Great for sandwiches!

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Inspiration for good food can be found anywhere, even Starbucks, where I had a delicious chicken salad sandwich recently. The key ingredients other than chicken? Sweetened dried cranberries and tarragon.

French tarragon is a distinctive herb, with a slight anise or licorice aroma. We don’t use it that often; I grew some last year and don’t think we used it more than once or twice the whole season. But it does pair well with chicken. The dried cranberries add some sweetness to the chicken salad, and the lemon juice just enough acidity to brighten all the flavors.

Tarragon Chicken Salad Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 2 cups chopped, cooked chicken meat*
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1-2 teaspoons dried tarragon (or 1-2 Tbsp fresh chopped tarragon)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

* Poach about 1 1/2 lbs of skinless chicken breasts and thighs, preferably bone-in (for flavor), in a quart of salted (2 teaspoons) water, for about 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from water, let cool, remove bones, chop the meat into 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch cubes.


Mix all of the ingredients together. Adjust seasoning. Serve with lettuce for a simple salad, in a tomato that has been cut open for a stuffed tomato, or with slices of bread for a chicken salad sandwich.

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Tarragon Chicken Salad

Showing 4 of 40 Comments

  • Libbie

    This is my FAVORITE chicken salad recipe. I’ve been making it for 3 years now and finally decided to comment. Just made it with cubed and roasted sweet potato which expanded it and made it taste even better!

  • BJ Woods

    I made a similar concoction after having eaten the Starbucks version of the sandwich.

    I make it all the time, now!

    Last year for a mother’s day brunch, I had planned to make it, but was out of fresh chicken, so I opened a can of chunked chicken and used that. Canned chicken has a bit of an off-taste, so in the mayonnaise, I stirred in about a teaspoon of horseradish sauce (the kind that comes in a squeeze bottle for roast beef sandwiches, etc.). The chicken salad had a nice kick to it after I did that! I spread the mixture onto whole-grain cocktail bread for the brunch, for little finger sandwiches! I also served cut up veggies with rosted red pepper hummus for dipping, and red seedless grapes, and for dessert, we had a chocolate raspberry sorbet.

    Nice spread!

  • Wendy

    Very nice combination, not usually a fan of taragon but it works really well with the chicken, and the cranberies give it that special something something! Thank you Elise!

  • Tami

    Chicken salad with grapes and walnuts, so good. I like it with dill and lemon rind too. Also, cut calories by using plain greek yogurt instead of mayo.

  • Jim

    Outstanding recipe! As much of a coffee junkie as I am, I’ve never noticed it at Starbucks, so thanks for posting it. Very light and a great choice for those summer afternoons. There’s a strawberry-tarragon recipe I have that I’m going to have to try following the sandwich with.

    Anyway, to help cut fat (and calories) I tried it with about half and half no-fat yogurt and light sour cream for the zip (instead of mayo). It worked out great with a subtle tang that went well with the lemon.

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